While it’s important to understand the value of your online marketing activities (vanity metrics included), it’s even more crucial to use the insights you can gather to inform future marketing activities and coverage, and better understand what your audience of engaged and potential customers really want.
Vanity metrics refer to those prominent numbers that can seem impressive and indicative of growth, while not actually providing much info about the value of your online activities or actual results for your business. We’ve broken down vanity metrics for the most common marketing channels we help clients with, explained how you can avoid falling into their (albeit good-looking) trap, and revealed what you should be focusing on instead!
We all love to see those pageviews climb, but it’s important not to focus on straight-up pageviews as a figure for accurately representing how people are encountering your webpages.
Instead, look to things like time-on-page or session duration, bounce rate, and pages per session to more deeply understand how people are spending time on your website.
When reporting to retainer clients, we love to use time-on-page as a way to gauge the success of different types of monthly blogs and content, and use those insights to shape what we deliver moving forward.
EDMs are an especially tricky one to force yourself to look past the vanity metrics; you’ve got your subscriber list, sure, but you’re well aware that only a percentage of those will actually open the EDM. Then you have the open rate, but that doesn’t really indicate how people interacted with or consumed the actual content of your email.
Instead, look to the clicks and, more importantly, where people are clicking. Do they always head straight to the gif in the middle? Is the top piece of content always the most clicked? When you dig a bit deeper, you might be surprised by how readers (and not just “openers”) actually engage with the type and style of content you include in your EDMs.
Okay, we admit it: we love seeing those follower counts grow as much as anyone! Unfortunately, the number of followers you have on social platforms doesn’t really indicate that they’re engaging with your content or brand, or even much more aware than any other user.
When it comes to digging a little deeper to understand your social audience, engagement rate is the way to go. Keeping track of the types of content that perform best (have the highest engagement rate) across platforms can shape your posting decisions in future, and also help you understand what your audience wants to see more/less of.
Of course, it’s worth remembering that your objectives might be absolutely validated by vanity metrics! General awareness, social following, and subscriber growth (among others) can all be informed by vanity metrics, and they might be a part of your particular marketing strategy.
If you want help better understanding how people are engaging with your marketing activities and online presence, send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org